Friday 13 October 2017

A Bustle Skirt

This is a story that starts almost a year ago at our Embroiderers' Guild branch Christmas lunch. Back in December, Gill returned from deepest darkest Norfolk to join her old friends (friends of old or friends who are old... read it as you will) for lunch and with her usual panache she was wearing a fabulous skirt with a bustle that of course she had sewn herself. I confess I had serious bustle envy, after all who wouldn't want to wear something so stunning. Fast forward a couple of months and I spent a couple of days up in Norfolk with Gill and she kindly gave me a length of her left over fabric so I could make my own bustle skirt... all I need to do was buy a zip and some suitable lining fabric.

Fast forward even more months and despite searching my stash and keeping an eye out here and there nothing was deemed suitable and so the skirt was never made.  Then, this week I happened to be at the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace, demonstrating rag rugging for Missenden School of Creative Arts. I had a quick look round the show over my lunch break but was left feeling it doesn't seem too special any more. I used to love going but now I don't find much that is inspirational and I certainly don't need to buy anything new to add to my stash... although if you are there this weekend check out the exhibition by Hue, and in particular the three stunning panels by my friend Marian. So I wasn't really prepared to do any shopping until I spotted this gorgeous Liberty Lawn fabric.

I had absolutely no idea if it would look okay with the fabric Gill had given me but I bought a couple of metres anyway and as luck would have they look fabulous together with the print picking out the burgundy stripe in the woven fabric.

So although I had set aside a day yesterday to cut out my new coat instead I made my bustle skirt!

The design is very simple but so effective and is essentially a rectangular length of lined fabric cleverly joined at the back with a zip to create the bustle.

The trickiest part was inserting the zip and even that wasn't that tricky... but look at those gorgeous folds and that fabulous fabric!

And because the woven fabric has a beautiful fringed edge I only had to hem the lining.

I commandeered youngest son to take some photos of me actually wearing the skirt... he grumped a lot and was very reluctant and this is the best of a bad lot. I wasn't going to ask him to try again and as he was the only person I was likely to see while it was daylight these photos will have to do!

It is not quite as long as it appears and is just below knee level at the front, although sweeps down to mid calf at the back.

I love the skirt but was a little disappointed that I had made it too loose on the waist. The instructions advised getting a friend to help with the pinning and measuring. I certainly wasn't going to get youngest son to help stick pins in me so fiddled about and did it myself with the result I was a bit cautious and too generous with my measuring. My heart sank a little as I thought I would have to adjust the back seam and re-insert the zip but then I decided to add a couple of little pleats in the front instead. And although I say so myself it was just a little bit genius because not only does it fit much better now it also sits better over my tummy. Let's face it who actually has a completely flat tummy... not me that's for sure!

So although the fabric for the coat remains untouched I do have a lovely new skirt to wear when we go out tomorrow evening. I'm also off to teach a rag rug class tomorrow for Elspeth who runs Ragged Life and  next month on 18th November I will be teaching a whole day at Missenden Abbey to make rag rug Christmas wreaths... which was why I was demonstrating at Ally Pally this week. Whatever you are doing I hope you have fun this weekend! (And I apologise for actually mentioning Christmas twice in one post... it just sort of slipped out!)


  1. What an amazing skirt, I love how the fabric drapes at the back!
    I haven't been to the Knitting and Stitching show in Dublin for years either for the same reasons as you.

  2. What a fab skirt.I love how it drapes.I used to go to the Harrogate show but havn't been for years.Have we lost interest because we see so much on line?

    1. Thank you! I quite enjoyed the Harrogate show when I went. It seemed more spacious and there were some different suppliers and exhibitions to London.

  3. Lovely, it has a beautiful drape and love the color combination.

  4. What a beautiful skirt and I'm so pleased you made use of the beautiful fringing on the plaid fabric. I, too, haven't been to the K&S Show for several years, partly because my interests have moved along a bit and partly because my stash is beyond ridiculous. Thoughts of crowds deter me too :-(

  5. I love the skirt and the combination of fabrics. I wouldn't have thought of putting them together but they go so well. The coat can wait - we are supposed to be having warmer weather!

  6. Lovely skirt Gina, and the lining you chose is perfect!
    I was at K&S on Thursday, and even I didn't buy as much as I usually do! X

  7. What a fabulous skirt - the colour and fabric combination is gorgeous. The coat can wait for another day.

  8. I love the combination of colours and patterns. What a great idea for a skirt.

  9. I went with a small list of things I needed to Ally Pally and got most things plus a few extras that I could not resist. I fell in love with some Liberty fabric but I could not think of anything I needed it for so resisted. I love the Liberty fabric and fall on the bustle. Very stylish!

  10. How fabulous! I really love the bustle skirt (wishing I could get away with wearing one myself). I always use the self timer for photos now because the family is hopeless, zooming in to the double chin and knee folds, as if on purpose! Hope you enjoyed your night out. x

  11. Fabulous skirt Gina and I love the fabrics, particularly the Liberty print.

  12. Good things come to those that wait. Your lining fabric is so pretty, and I love the woven check. How cool is it to have a bustle skirt! I'll bet you got lots of comments on your night out.


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